Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte introduced the East Rosebud Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (H.R. 4645) to conserve a portion of the East Rosebud Creek, north of Yellowstone National Park, under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The creek is a popular recreation destination and an important part of Montana’s $6 billion recreation and tourism industry.
“Being responsive to our local communities, strengthening our economy, and protecting our way of life are among my top priorities as I represent Montanans in Washington,” said Gianforte, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.
“In some areas, the best use of our natural resources and treasures is conservation and recreation. This standard applies to the East Rosebud Creek which is why I introduced today’s legislation,”Gianforte said.
East Rosebud Creek flows through the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness into Stillwater River and eventually into the Yellowstone River. The U.S. Forest Service has approved a portion of East Rosebud Creek as eligible for the wild and scenic designation. Reports by the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies have indicated there is little potential for oil and gas development in the designation area. Three hydropower proposals for the area never materialized, and the 2009 permit for the most recent proposal expired in 2013.
Gianforte, who has hiked the area extensively with his family, met with Friends of East Rosebud in late July. Members of the organization have developed a coalition of local business and public support for the wild and scenic river designation. The group has been working with state and federal agencies and government officials since 2009.
Frank Annighofer, Vice President of Friends of East Rosebud, said, “We greatly appreciate Congressman Gianforte reintroducing the House bill to protect the East Rosebud Creek. This area is a special place where many Montanans have chosen to live and raise our families – some folks have been here for generations. The East Rosebud attracts visitors from all over the world, yielding significant economic value to surrounding communities and our state. This bill will ensure the East Rosebud stays a special place for generations to come.”
Other local leaders and stakeholders also welcomed Gianforte’s efforts.
“On the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act next year, I can think of no better way to celebrate than by designating East Rosebud Creek as Montana’s first new wild and scenic river in four decades. We thank Congressman Gianforte for taking an important step toward permanently protecting this beloved creek, proving again that Montanans can come together across party lines to get things done,” said Michael Fiebig, Associate Director of American Rivers.
“From cowboys to kayakers, Montanans are united in an effort to protect East Rosebud Creek. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition applauds Rep. Greg Gianforte for listening to Montanans and introducing legislation to permanently protect East Rosebud Creek as a Wild and Scenic River,” said Caroline Byrd, Executive Director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
If the bill is enacted, East Rosebud Creek would be the first waterway in Montana since 1976 to be approved as a Wild and Scenic River. A similar bill is under consideration in the U.S. Senate.